Nicola Sturgeon deputy rejects compensation call over Manchester travel ban

Nicola Sturgeon’s number two has rejected calls to compensate people affected by the Scottish Government travel ban to Manchester.

John Swinney said financial support would not be “appropriate” and said the ban is “consistent” with similar policies in the past.

Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement on Friday that all non-essential travel to Manchester and Salford would be banned from today was met with a furious reaction by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

Burnham said yesterday: “I was really disappointed on Friday that the First Minister of Scotland just announced out of the blue, as far as we were concerned, a travel ban saying that people couldn’t travel from Scotland to Manchester and Salford and people couldn’t go the other way.

“That is exactly what the SNP always accuse the Westminster Government of doing, riding roughshod over people.

“The SNP are treating the north of England with the same contempt in bringing that in without any consultation with us.”

He added: “I just think it’s double standards, it’s hypocrisy.

“They’ve done to us exactly what they always complain that the UK Government does to Scotland.”

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Burnham said he would be looking for his constituents who planned to travel north of the border to be financially compensated by the Scottish Government.

“I’ll be writing to the First Minister today,” he said.

In an interview on the BBC Good Morning Scotland programme, Swinney said of the travel curb:

“The provisions that we’ve put in place in relation to Manchester and Salford are consistent approaches we’ve taken in that area before.”

He said parliament had been formally notified by way of a written answer, but hinted that these processes could be reviewed:

Asked about Burham’s compensation call, Swinney said:

“I don’t think that’s appropriate. What we will have to do is put in place the arrangements to support businesses within our own areas to try to help them through the challenges that they face in a pandemic that is affecting us all.”

The Covid Recovery Secretary also criticised Scotland fans for travelling to London for the England match last week: “I think it’s regrettable that fans decided to travel to London when they didn’t have these arrangements in place.”

In an earlier BBC interview, Swinney appeared to suggest that lessons would be learned when questioned about the last minute nature of the Manchester/Salford ban:

“That is something we will reflect on but we put in place very similar provisions in relation to Bolton, which is part of the Greater Manchester area, back in May, and we’ve just followed exactly the same approach in relation to this decision.”

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